Athletic Club 2-0 Atlético Madrid: Postgame Player Ratings
Iago Herrerín 7/10
Iago Herrerín earned his 9th clean sheet of the season and played a big role in keeping Atlético scoreless. He made two big saves and constantly left his line to claim passes and crosses, while also punching a few dangerous balls. The 31-year-old also made his 100th appearance for Athletic which made the night even more special.
Oscar De Marcos 6/10
It was a quiet night from Oscar De Marcos who did well, but wasn’t outstanding. The right-back provided a key pass and won a dribble, though he was forced to defend much more than is usually the case. De Marcos did exactly what was asked of him and was consistently reliable for the full 90 minutes.
Unai Nuñez 8/10
Unai Nuñez made the most of his opportunity to be back in the starting lineup. Playing in his natural right center-back role he was comfortable and confident in challenges. He won 4 headers, 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, and made 6 clearances. Nuñez was also a constant threat on set pieces when in attack and completed 86% of his passes. Once again, the 22-year-old proved that he deserves more minutes.
There are no words left to describe how well Yeray has been playing this season. He was the best player on the pitch against Atlético and earns Man of the Match honors. The center-back won 3 headers, 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, and made 7 interceptions. Yeray’s two world class tackles inside the box were flawless and he singlehandedly ended attacks on multiple occassions.
Yuri Berchiche 7/10
For the second straight game Yuri Berchiche played in a more advanced position while allowing Iker Muniain to drift into the middle of the field. The left-back did well, making 2 interceptions and winning 1 tackle, while also clearing the ball 6 times. He was most effective going forward, keeping possession and constantly taking on defenders. Berchiche put in 2 crosses, one of which was a key pass, and was quietly very solid.
Dani García 7/10
When Dani García goes unnoticed it’s usually a good thing. He won 2 tackles and 2 interceptions against Atlético, while also cutting out passing lanes with intelligent positioning. The midfielder may not have had a flashy game, but he was vital in helping Athletic keep possession and build from the back. García led the team with 90% passing and completed 6/7 long balls.
Mikel San José 8/10
Mikel San José has been in fantastic form since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager and on Sunday he played his best game of the last 2 years. The stats were good. He won 4 headers, 4 tackles, 2 interceptions, and provided 2 crosses and a key. It’s what the stats don’t show that really made San José stand out. His positioning was flawless, which made it extremely difficult for Atlético to find a rhythm going forward, and he used his strength perfectly to protect possession and make his presence felt. San José may have only completed 67% of his passes, but he was one of the best players on the field.
Ibai Gómez 7/10
Ibai Gómez was rewarded for last weekend’s big assist with a place in the starting lineup. The winger did not disappoint. Not only did he force Jan Oblak to make a spectacular save, but he also provided another assist and was a constant threat down the right side of the field. Gómez won 2 dribbles, 2 tackles, and put in 7 promising crosses. Even with multiple defenders around him he protected the ball out wide and showed once again why Athletic brought him back to San Mamés in January.
Raúl García 6/10
After scoring Athletic’s last 4 goals Raúl García was finally held in check by Atlético Madrid. The 32-year-old did well to provide an outlet in the midfield and brought a physicality that helped the Lions keep their momentum, though it wasn’t his best performance. He did have one key pass and won a tackle, but his biggest contribution was holding up play and drawing fouls.
Iker Muniain 5/10
Iker Muniain has been one of Athletic’s most important players this season, but Saturday night was far from his best. He managed to put one shot on target, won a big tackle against Juanfran, and had an important interception, but litle else. Throughout the game Muniain constantly drifted into the middle of the field and Atlético harrased him in a way that kept the magician from being able to create anything special. Muniain did keep possession well and his movement was phenomenal, but Diego Simeone clearly had a gameplan ready to nullify the 26-year-old.
Iñaki Williams 7/10
Iñaki Williams battled Diego Godín all night and it was fun to watch. Godín tended to win the headers, but would also shadow Iñaki off the ball to keep him from having any space to run into. The Athletic forward would have his chances though, breaking away for a shot early in the second half and then sneaking behind Godín to open up the scoring later in the game. Playing against one of the best defenders in the world can be a daunting task, but Iñaki never hung his head and eventually won the battle. He also cleared four corner kicks and constantly tracked back to help out defensively.
Iñigo Córdoba 8/10
The deciding factor in Saturday’s win was Gaizka Garitano’s substitutions and it all started with Iñigo Córdoba. Garitano brought on the winger in the 71st minute for Muniain and two minutes later Córdoba assisted on Iñaki’s opening goal. The 22-year-old had another key pass later in the game, won a tackle, and was a problem for Atlético for the rest of the match.
Kenan Kodro 8/10
If Córdoba was a successful substitute, Kenan Kodro was even better. The striker came on for Raúl García in the 85th minute and scored just 27 seconds later. He was calm under pressure as Ibai Gómez played him into the box and showed confidence in attempting a shot from a difficult angle. Doubling the lead sealed the victory for Athletic and saw Kodro celebrate his first goal for the Zurigorri.
Iñigo Lekue 6/10
Iñigo Lekue came on in stoppage time for Ibai Gómez and it was a time for celebration. After dealing with a fractured ankle and back surgery this season, the 25-year-old was making his first appearance of the campaign. He may not have even touched the ball, but just being back on the field was a huge victory.
Gaizka Garitano 10/10
Managers usually don’t get graded along with the players, but Gaizka Garitano certainly deserves recognition. The win, the great performance, the confidence; it was all because of the Mister. Garitano set the team up to succeed against Atlético Madrid with a fantastic game plan and his substitutes in the second half decided the outcome. From day one Garitano has breathed confidence and belief into his players and it showed once again on a big stage.